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    Martz on the Mike

    Head Coach Mike Martz
    Wednesday, December 8, 2004

    (Opening comments)
    ďWith everything you do in the beginning of the year, you just hope at this point, with four games to go, youíre still in the hunt, which we are. Obviously, we are a half-game up on in the division, with our destiny in our control. We are looking forward to this game in Carolina, another NFC (team), and a team that we met in the playoffs last year. We are familiar with them. We have played against (Carolina head coach) John (Fox)ís defense on several occasions, and we are somewhat familiar with him. Their defensive line is terrific. Their quarterback is playing really well. He has that big, strong arm. Even though they are without their starter at running back, (RB Nick Goings) has done a tremendous job rushing the football. The offensive line is still significant, and of course, their receiving corps is good. They are on the mend. They are on a streak, winning four in a row, and winning some tight games. It should be fun. We are looking forward to this game, and it goes without saying right now, but this is as big as it gets.Ē

    (On if he expresses the importance of this game to his team)
    ďYes, absolutely. At this point you need to. This is the time, where early in the year you start talking about this is a big game and itís hard to do that, but at this point these are all playoff games. The significance grows each week. Itís a four-week season, and it starts with this one. We are all excited about being in this position, and this opportunity. We have done a great job defensively and given up the big play. Those are the mistakes within the defense that we are mending and resolving. I think we are kind of adapting that personality defensively, and the understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. Offensively, there are some issues that we need to mend and fix, but Iím excited about the perimeter and the offensive line and where we are heading. And I think Chris (Chandler) will do a good job for us.Ē

    (On QB Chris Chandler)
    ďWhen we signed him, heís not 500-years-old, heís 38. It doesnít matter how old he is, he can play. He has terrific legs. Heís in there on the treadmill for 35 minutes on (level) nine. I donít know if any of you can do that, and I know I canít. I think that, and the fact that his arm strength hasnít been diminished at all. Heís still on top of his game, in terms of seeing things and accuracy. All of those things, physically, would lend itself to believe that he still has a lot of football left in him. Otherwise, we would have never signed him to a two-year deal. Heís been through all of the playoffs. Heís been to a Super Bowl. Heís been there. He knows how to prepare. He knows how to get himself right. A lot of quarterbacks, and this is going to sound silly, but they donít know themselves in big games yet. If they have not been there, (they donít know) how they will respond. But the players look to him for guidance. They know heís been there before, and he knows the right things to do. Heíll manage the game properly, and if itís something heís confused about then weíll stay away from it and move on. He can make those clutch throws and clutch plays to win a game.Ē

    (On C Andy McCollum)
    ďThe thing that Andy does, is heís just flawless in terms of the mental aspect. Getting the right calls, his quickness, his ability to reach guys and get into linebackers, I didnít know he could do the things that he is doing. He did them in the past. But where he is right now, to pull him and have him get on the outside linebacker is really unusual. Heís been very consistent all year long. Heís been the most consistent player in the offensive line all season. I keep saying this, and Iíve said it since the beginning of the year, he really is having a Pro-Bowl year. Regardless of what happens to us, heís playing out there in another level and heís doing a terrific job for us.Ē

    (On RB Aveion Cason)
    ďWe brought Aveion in the event that we sustain more injuries in the backfield, but more importantly, to give us another kickoff return specialist. We know where his speed is. We are very familiar with Aveion. We had him here in the past, and Iím excited about what he might bring. In the event that we start Arlen (Harris) at halfback, which I might suspect that we do, then you would like to have Aveion returning kickoffs.Ē

    (On RB Steven Jackson)
    ďI think heíll be ready. Obviously, itís hard to start him if he doesnít practice. I think heíll be ready to play. When will he practice? Maybe Friday, I donít know. Youíre going to have to assume that you wonít have him and get Arlen ready, then if you have him, you have him. I believe we will have Marshall (Faulk) too. I think we will have all three of those backs, but in the event that we donít, you have Aveion and we will try to keep him up on the roster to return kickoffs.Ē

    (On keeping his defense focused and aggressive, despite the roughing the passer penalties)
    ďYou have to be careful on how you emphasize those things, too, when you talk to the team after the game. If you let that become an issue for the football team, then itís a distraction for everybody. Then when it does happen, it becomes a major focus for them. You have to move on. When those things are over with, they are over with. Whether it was a good call or bad call, it is what it is and you canít change it. You have to have that resolve, or perseverance, to move on in spite of those things, and over come it. Thatís really our focus. Whether itís a sack, a turnover, a penalty, it doesnít make a difference. (They need to) continue what they are doing. They are doing the right thing, you are doing what we are asking you to.Ē

    (On QB Marc Bulgerís timetable for return)
    ďI really donít (know). I would suspect that there would be a potential to have him next week. But whether we do or not, I donít know. I do know this, it was a very similar injury that he sustained in Miami. He would not have been able to play that next week. I think we would be very hopeful for next week, but weíll have to see. I think that might be a little over-optimistic.Ē

    (On QB Jamie Martin)
    ďI think, initially, we will try to get Jeff Smoker in a capacity until Jamie comes along in what we are doing mentally. I think Jeff is up to do most of the things that we do, but he hasnít played. Jamie, the last time he played for us, brought us back in the fourth quarter on Monday Night to beat the San Francisco *****. I know he can win. We didnít have a real good supporting cast around him when he had to play, thatís why we lost two quarterbacks and he was playing. We are a better team in that respect, and he will play better with better people around him. Iím excited that he is available to us, because he can make the throws and decisions, and run this football team the way we want our quarterback to run it.Ē

    (On if QB Jeff Smoker will back up Chandler)
    ďWeíll see. I just donít know he is in practice, or how much he has absorbed. I donít know Jeff well enough to say that he is ready to go play in a game. I know Jamie is. Providing he has the information, heíll play.Ē

    (On the pressure placed on G Blaine Saipaia to stop Carolinaís Julius Peppers)
    ďI think every player out there feels that type of pressure. Thatís why we put Blaine in that position. Blaine, obviously, understands the opportunity ahead of him. But I also think he is very confident in his physical capabilities. Iím excited. We went back and looked at that Buffalo tape. I have great confidence in him. Heís a guy that I looked at all year, throughout the season, and felt like he was going to be one of our feature starters here, eventually. When it was going to happen, I didnít know. But he has the athleticism to line up on the edge and block a guy like Peppers, with his feet and his strength and all of those things. The experience is going to be a factor, so weíll need to help him there.Ē

    (On if last yearís playoff loss to Carolina will serve as a motivating factor for this game)
    ďThe players who were here understand that, obviously, just as we as coaches do. When you start to dwell on those things, it becomes a distraction for you. That has nothing to do with this game, at this point. If you need that as an emotional lift to go and compete, you are probably in the wrong business. This team is a different team. We are a different team. We are fighting for our lives here, to try and get in the playoffs and win this division. Thatís significant enough. You start talking about what was, that all becomes a distraction. We are moving forward. We are focusing on this football game and getting after that.Ē

    (On Carolina)
    ďI think they are a very power-oriented running team. Their receivers have made some big plays for them. (QB Jake Delhomme) has a big arm. He has that Brett Favre-type arm. He can zig it down the field with terrific accuracy. They have come in and out of it. Obviously, when their backs went down, they went off in a different direction a little. But they have their running game to the point where they feel very good with it. I think they are pretty well rounded at this point.Ē

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    Re: Martz on the Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by RamWraith
    (On if QB Jeff Smoker will back up Chandler)
    ďWeíll see. I just donít know he is in practice, or how much he has absorbed. I donít know Jeff well enough to say that he is ready to go play in a game. I know Jamie is. Providing he has the information, heíll play.Ē
    *raises eyebrow*

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